By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity and David Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
April is Financial Literacy Month, and we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to save and build wealth across their lifetime—including people experiencing homelessness. The most recent data show that 44% of households in the United States—and 80 percent of the poorest households—are liquid asset poor, meaning they have less than three months’ worth of savings. It’s safe to assume that people experiencing or at high risk of homelessness fall into this category and face significant challenges to building savings and wealth. In addition to connecting homeless jobseekers to employment, workforce development programs can foster their clients’ long-term economic success by integrating financial literacy and asset building into their services. Wondering how? Here are five strategies to help people experiencing homelessness meet their short term economic needs and build toward future goals.
By Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
Job quality for entry-level workers in the US is pretty dismal. The minimum wage is historically very low when adjusted for inflation, wage theft and other violations of wage and hour laws are commonplace, and employers often limit workers to part-time status or misclassify them as independent contractors in order to avoid offering benefits or paying overtime. New scheduling software allows employers to assign workers for short, unpredictable shifts in a way that maximizes profit but makes it difficult to plan transportation, arrange for childcare, or work more than one job (which is often necessary when you’re limited to part-time work).
We know that just getting a job is often not enough to allow an individual or family to escape poverty in America. There are millions of “working poor” Americans for whom the promise of hard work as a means to stability and security has not materialized. Over sixty-five percent of households living in poverty contain at least one working adult.
If transitional jobs programs succeed only in moving job seekers from chronic unemployment into low-wage, low-quality jobs, we have failed. We are merely adding to the numbers of the “working poor”—and we can do better.
By Caitlin C. Schnur, Workforce Research & Policy Fellow, NTJN
In the National Transitional Jobs Network’s (NTJN) recent article in the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness‘ UNCENSORED magazine, we showed why employment is critical to ending family homelessness and gave homeless service providers recommendations for integrating employment strategies into their programming. We know, however, that many homeless service providers already offer consumers quality employment services and believe that employment has an important role to play in ending homelessness—so, what’s next? Here, we shift the focus from building better programs to building systems that prioritize employment as a pathway out of homelessness and are well-equipped to serve homeless job seekers. If you’re a service provider looking to channel your experience and expertise toward ensuring that more homeless job seekers have access to employment and economic opportunity, this blog offers four actionable strategies to jumpstart your advocacy work. Ready? Go! Read More…